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AUS Defence To Investigate Attack In Afghanistan

Defence Media Release

MSPA 307/08 Friday, 19 September 2008

Australian Forces Under Fire In Southern Afghanistan - Update

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is working closely with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan authorities who will launch a joint ISAF / Afghan Government investigation into the incident that occurred on 18 September. The ADF will also conduct a full investigation.

Initial ADF reporting indicates that the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) patrol was moving on foot towards a subsequent activity when they were fired on from a number of locations by unknown attackers. The SOTG patrol returned fire in self-defence.

Initial assessment indicates that the SOTG personnel acted in accordance with their Rules of Engagement and that their actions were appropriate and proportionate in what was a complex and lethal environment.

The ADF can confirm that Chora District Governor and tribal leader, Rozi Khan, was among those killed. It is not possible at this time to determine that he was killed by ADF fire.

A number of groups, including Afghan National Police personnel, were in the vicinity of the incident. No ADF personnel were wounded, however initial reporting indicates that a number of local nationals were killed or wounded in the exchange of fire. The identity of these additional personnel will be determined as part of the investigations that are now underway.

Australian Forces make every effort to minimise the risk of any damage, injury or loss of life to non-combatants in the course of its operations. However, the ADF reserves the right to protect its own people.

The ADF will not release additional information on this matter until the ADF and ISAF / Afghan Government investigations are complete.


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